Dreyfuss Jazz, 2007
REVIEW BY: Ben McVicker
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/23/2007
Listening to this disc, one cannot help but let go the occasional expletive, so stunning is Hadrien Feraud’s debut collection of instrumental jazz that blends the subtle, mosaic soundscapes of Weather Report with a smattering of contemporary effects and jaw-dropping musicianship.
Feraud, who recently finished a touring stint as McLaughlin’s bassist, reveals himself to be a musical chameleon on this disc, equally capable of blending into the background or taking centre stage with his virtuosic playing. It is no exaggeration to say that Feraud is Jaco Pastorius reincarnated. The man’s technique is dazzling, and his crisp, earthy tones are to die for.
The disc itself is an eclectic mix of fusion, smooth jazz laced with occasional programming and a few stunning reinterpretations of older songs -- including a new version of "Hijacked," from McLaughlin’s album, Que Alegria, featuring JM himself. The latter is a definite highlight, a high-energy romp carried by frenzied, technical percussion. Littered with double-stops and fluid soloing from Feraud, it’s an unpredictable affair that demands repeated listens just to grasp everything that’s going on. McLaughlin’s two-minute solo beginning about 4:25 into the song is the icing on the cake.
There isn’t a single weak track on this album. Opener “Rumeurs” is a mind-bending dose of shred-fusion carried by an understated, persistent bassline and a mix of digital effects. The segue into “Marie Ael,” a quiet, Parisian affair complete with accordion and eloquent soloing from Feraud, is at once flawless and striking. The cover of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” will catch some listeners off guard with its vast array of modern sound effects and noises, but it works surprisingly well, and overall is an innovative, commendable interpretation.
An impressive debut from an unknown talent, this disc is a rare achievement. With his skillful mix of creative spark and first-rate musicianship, Hadrien Feraud shows a maturity beyond his years. An album that flows from start to finish without letting up, one cannot help but be impressed and inspired by this fine piece of work.